During the Blackhawks’ general manager search, former Cubs executive Jeff Greenberg emerged as a surprise finalist but ultimately lost out to Kyle Davidson.
Less than two months later, however, Greenberg joined the Hawks nonetheless. He was hired Thursday as associate GM.
Greenberg and Norm Maciver, who was hired away from the Kraken last month to also serve as an associate GM, will support Davidson as the three-man leadership team heading the Hawks’ front office.
“[Jeff] reached out to congratulate me after I was named general manager, and we connected instantly over our parallel paths, shared love for hockey and vision for this sport’s future,” Davidson said in a statement. “I’m excited for our fans to see what he, alongside Norm, can bring as key voices at the table — a table that will continue to grow with other leaders we will add to the team.”
Greenberg, 36, spent the last 11 years with the Cubs, rising through the ranks to most recently serve as assistant GM. He largely operated behind the scenes but played an instrumental role in developing the talent evaluation and information processing systems that helped propel the Cubs to their 2016 World Series title.
He’ll serve a similar role with the Hawks, bringing methods from baseball that haven’t been widely implemented in hockey up to this point.
The Hawks say he’ll work alongside all aspects of the hockey operations department — including scouting, development, analytics and coaching at both the NHL and minor-league levels — to modernize and optimize their systems and decision-making processes.
“What I’ve learned about the Blackhawks is they’re serious about using this rebuilding period to not only set this franchise up to be the best in hockey, but the best in all of sports moving forward,” Greenberg said in a statement. “There couldn’t be a more exciting time to get in on the ground floor of this journey and pursue every possible solution to put this team back on the path to winning hockey.”
A Penn alum, Greenberg also holds a law degree from Columbia and worked for the Pirates, Diamondbacks and MLB league office before joining the Cubs. He does hold some hockey ties: he played hockey while growing in Pittsburgh and his father, Chuck, once nearly bought the Hurricanes.
But he’s unquestionably an unconventional, outside-the-box hire for the Hawks and in general for the NHL, which is notorious for recycling the same executives from one team to the next.
That was likely part of the appeal for Davidson, who took flak when he nabbed Maciver — a longtime Hawks executive up until early 2021 — after promising to bring in fresh voices and perspectives. He’d said earlier this month that future hiring decisions would reflect that need for freshness; Greenberg is likely just the tip of the iceberg, with many more front-office additions expected this offseason.
For the Cubs, meanwhile, Greenberg’s departure — he officially starts with the Hawks on May 9 — leaves a significant hole in their front-office leadership during the middle of the season.
Beneath baseball operations president Jed Hoyer and newly hired GM Carter Hawkins, Greenberg worked alongside Ehsan Bokhari and Craig Breslow as the three assistant GMs.
“Jeff…has done so much to make the Cubs a better organization over the last 10 seasons with his powerful combination of intelligence, work ethic, leadership and integrity,” Hoyer said in a statement. “He was critically involved in forward-looking decisions as we built the core of a world champion.
“As the Blackhawks look to build their next championship team, Jeff is an ideal hire. While I am sad to lose such a terrific employee and friend, I am thrilled that his future success will continue to benefit the city of Chicago.”